Letter: What happened to roadsides in Minnesota?

Published 10:17 pm Thursday, October 31, 2019

I live in the Twin Cities and drove to Iowa on Sunday for a conference. I was looking forward to seeing the fall colors.

Miles north of Albert Lea, I noticed that the roadsides lining 35W had been mowed to the ground. The slopes were lined with deep ruts from the heavy equipment used to mow the wild grasses all the way to the fence lines.

What happened? Who decided that green stubble should replace the waving wild grasses that provide food and shelter to birds and butterflies? The interstate was designated as a monarch butterfly corridor. There is now a several mile gap in that idea. The Audubon Society just reported that billions of birds are gone. Minnesotans agreed that insects and birds should be supported in every way possible, and not mowing the roadside ditches along 35W seemed like a great solution.

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I crossed into Iowa and the roadsides were lush with wild prairies grasses. Within a few miles I saw a hand-painted sign with a butterfly, saying 35W Monarch Corridor.

Way to go, Iowa.

Janis Hall